THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has criticised media reporting of corruption claims against African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma, according to a report in Business Day.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThroughout the eight years in which the legal process has been dragging on, the media has played a central role in the manipulation of legal processes, which Judge Chris Nicholson identified," said Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven.
In the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday, Nicholson found that ZumaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s prosecution was invalid.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWithout its lapdog media, the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and those influencing it could never have convinced public opinion to the extent they did that the steps they were taking against Jacob Zuma were justified,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Craven.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis biased media coverage led to many members of the public being blind to the downright abuse of an individualÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s rights.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Craven said a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œtruly independent watchdog media" would have exposed the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œmachinations which the judge has now pointed out". Nicholson, in his judgment, said he could not rule out the possibility of a political conspiracy against Zuma.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œObjective journalists would have pointed out that the NPA director has no business winning public opinion through off-the-record briefings," said Craven.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe Congress of South African Trade Unions urges the South African media to analyse its role in the manipulation of judicial processes in the investigation and attempted prosecution of ANC president Jacob Zuma, which the judge identified and condemned."
On Monday night, Zuma said the country had a responsibility to promote press freedom.
Click here to read the full report, posted on Business day's website.